February 21, 2017 / 6:52 PM / 6 months ago

Ukrainian MP plans to travel to Washington to push peace plan

Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Artemenko watches a news conference of Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko and Head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Vasyl Hrytsak at his office in Kiev, Ukraine, February 21, 2017.Valentyn Ogirenko

KIEV (Reuters) - A Ukrainian lawmaker who proposed an alternative plan for peace with Russian-backed separatists to U.S. President Donald Trump's administration told Reuters on Tuesday he plans to travel to Washington to present the proposal publicly.

On Monday, the New York Times reported that Andriy Artemenko had sent a proposal to associates of Trump that was designed to end a three years of fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Artemenko's initiative has been disavowed by both the Russian and Ukrainian governments. The Kremlin said his plan was "absurd", while Ukrainian prosecutors have launched a treason investigation due to the reported content of the proposal.

In an interview, Artemenko said he was not deterred and that he had the support of some U.S. Congress and Senate members.

"It's agreed that in the coming weeks there will be a presentation (of the initiative) in Washington with the Congressmen and Senators who support me," he said, declining to mention any officials by name.

Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Artemenko watches a news conference of Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko and Head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Vasyl Hrytsak at his office in Kiev, Ukraine, February 21, 2017.Valentyn Ogirenko

"Time will tell how the Ukrainian presidential administration, White House and Kremlin react."

He said certain details of the proposal had been misrepresented by the media, including that his initiative suggests Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014, be leased to Russia for a term of 50 or 100 years.

Slideshow (3 Images)

He did not go into detail about what "compromise" needed to be found between Russia and Ukraine to end the conflict, but said he believed the United States should play a major role in peace negotiations.

"I'm sure this is the right time, when Trump's administration is looking for new people who will be able to sort out this truly complicated task," he said.

On Monday, his party expelled him as a member, but Artemenko said this and the treason allegations were "hysteria" and signs the Ukrainian authorities could not accept any alternative points of view.

Beyond his role as a lawmaker, Artemenko is not seen as having any significant political clout in Ukraine and has not been involved with official peace negotiations over the past three years.

Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Louise Ireland

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